Compound, complex, and compound-complex sentence types

Sentences have been defined as strings of words that begin with a capital letter and are punctuated with terminal punctuation—something we all recognize (though in a recent post we examined how the period has declined in electronic messages, especially texts). A sentence has also been defined as an independent clause – a word group containing …

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Simple Sentence Patterns

We’ve already discussed how native speakers of English have an unconscious knowledge of the language’s grammar – this is true of native speakers of all languages. Nonnative speakers and English language learners have to learn the grammar, and they invariably study that of Standard English, the variety that is in power and used in academia …

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More comma confusion

I’ve discussed comma confusion before, particularly in my free fundamental comma guide (available here) which discusses three areas where there is confusion over “the rules” or where comma use can cause confusion usage “rules.” I also discussed the use of commas in these situations in three early posts on writing essentials blog: the Oxford or …

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What’s the difference between grammar, punctuation, and mechanics?

The use of these terms in grammar and language study can be inconsistent and individual. There is sometimes even confusion within one document by the same author. We saw with previous post that some people label mistakes in usage (which primarily deals with the use of a word) as an error in grammar. And indeed …

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Do errors in writing matter?

Does anyone care (anymore) about errors in writing, especially when written communication is becoming increasingly brief and informal; for instance, so much more is handled by email: applications to colleges or employers, query letters and writing samples for publication. And the increasing use of posts on social media sites, not only inviting a level or …

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Strategies for creating in a pandemic

As the greatest pandemic to hit the world since the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Novel Coronus Virus has disrupted normalcy and causing untold loss and heartache. When facing so many real-life challenges, it’s hard to focus on prose ones. I’ve touched on some of the issues in several blogs, including an early one in March …

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